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John Corey ’76 develops supercooler

Posted on Jun 30, 2004

John Corey '76, '80G

A Troy, N.Y.-based engineering
firm headed by John Corey '76 has developed a cooler that could be a major
product in the medical and superconducting industries. The following story
appeared in the
Business Review on June
21, 2004.


Super cool device

Clever Fellows betting its
innovative cryocoolers will heat up company revenue, profit

By Christine Margiotta 
The Business Review
Published: June
21, 2004

Clever Fellows Innovation Consortium Inc., a
small engineering company of 15 employees, has developed a machine with
potential to make millions of dollars in profits.

The company's QDrive Resonant Power Systems
division designed a motor that uses soundwaves to power their line of
cryocoolers–devices capable of generating temperatures more than 300 degrees
below zero. Cryomech in Syracuse, Helix in Boston, and Sumatomo in Japan make similar coolers, but
none use the sound-wave technology.

“”Our linear motors are what really
makes this practical,” said John Corey, company president and co-founder. Clever
Fellows is marketing its coolers to the medical and superconducting industries.
The hopes are that someday emphysema patients will be free of bulky oxygen
tanks, cell-phone towers will work better, and mass electrical failures like
the Aug. 14, 2003, blackout will be

The coolers landed QDrive deals in Japan and Germany, and it has production
deals pending in the United Kingdom, China, India and the Netherlands. The device also got Clever
Fellows a $700,000 contract with the U.S. Air Force and a partnership with
industrial gas company Praxair (NYSE:PX).

For Corey, the journey to this point was
long, slow and expensive. But worth it.

“The lost nights, the lost
wages–that's the way it should be,” he said. “So far [the business]
has been organically grown. I think that's a little unusual nowadays.”

A mechanical engineer who loves
experimenting with energy conversion, Corey never wanted to make money fast. He
liked following a rather old-fashioned route–making products, selling them,
and rolling profits back into the business.

Corey began Clever Fellows in 1989 with Ed
Slate and George Yarr, two buddies he worked with at Mechanical Technology Inc.
in Albany. Slate was a system
engineer, while Corey and Yarr worked on Sterling engines as senior design

Corey came to the Capital Region from Virginia to major in mechanical engineering
at Union College. He chose to stay in the
area, attracted by the small cities surrounded by rural land.

Yarr came from Long Island to take the job at MTI
after the aerospace industry, which held most of his interests, fell flat in
the 1970s. They just naturally began hanging out together, tinkering with
machinery in their basements and garages throughout the 1980s.

“It just happened,” Yarr said.
“Little by little we'd get ideas and say, let's try things out, and
eventually this business formed.”

The new company moved into an unlikely
headquarters: a boarded-up firehouse on 10th Street in Troy. “It's kind of a
trademark for us at this point,” Corey said. “You just ask local
people, 'Hey, you know that firehouse at the end of the bridge?'–and they know
where to find us.”


more on John Corey and other Union entrepreneurs, read this Union College magazine story: http://www.union.edu/N/DS/s.php?s=4337.

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Tom Riis Farrell ’81 plays Stan Peters in Stepford Wives

Posted on Jun 30, 2004

Tom Riis Farrell '81

One of Union's own — Tom Riis Farrell '81 — appears in the Stepford Wives in the role of Stan Peters.

The only arts major with a theater
emphasis to graduate from Union College
in 1981, Farrell appears in the film with Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Matthew
Broderick, Christopher Walken, Faith Hill, Glenn Close, Roger Bart and Jon

While at Union,
Tom worked on at least one play every trimester for four years –sometimes two.
His Mountebanks credits include, “Feiffer's People,” “Ten Little Indians,”
“Death of a Salesman,” “The Robber Bridegroom,” “Six Characters in Search of an
Author,” “The Three Sisters,” “The Crucible,” and “Working, the Musical.” After
graduation, he worked as a process server in a New York
City law firm while taking classes with actress Uta
Hagen.  From the group of students he met there, he helped found “The
Barrow Group,” a New-York-City-based repertory company.

Born Thomas H. Farrell, in Oceanside,
Long Island, the youngest of seven children, he was
forced to change his name when he joined the Screen Actors Guild since there
already was a Tom Farrell.

Tom has acted in many plays both
on and off Broadway. He won the Helen Hayes Award and a Joseph Jefferson Award
nomination for his performance in “Dirty Blonde,” which The New York Times
called, “The best new American play of 2000.” His theater credits also
include:  “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” “1776,” “Wrong
Mountain,” “Li'l Abner,” and “View
of The Dome.”

On television he played Uncle
Hogram on Nickelodeon's “The Uncle Hogram Program,” and “Gary” on the CBS
series, “Wish You Were Here,” where in one episode he wore a Union
College sweatshirt. You may have
seen Tom on “NYPD Blue,” “Ed,” “Spin City,”
or as a guest lead several times on “Law & Order.” He appeared in the
television movies, “The Love Letter,” “The Deliverance of Elaine,” and “On
Seventh Avenue.”

The long list of Tom's film
credits includes, “Marie and Bruce,” “Almost Famous,” “Bringing out the Dead,”
“The Out-of-Towners,” “The Devil's Advocate,” “Commandments,” “Kiss of Death,”
“Sleepless in Seattle,” “Scent of a Woman,” “Shadows and Fog,” and the short
film, “Four Simple Rules.”

Tom has kept in touch with Union
over the years, periodically writing letters to update us on his activities. In
one letter from 1990, as he was telling us about his name change and his latest
work with people like Harrison Ford and Mike Nichols, he wrote, “It isn't the
easiest way of making a living, but I'm enjoying myself. And I credit Union,
and especially Prof. Barry K. Smith, for preparing me well for it.”  

He lives in Brooklyn.

For more about Farrell and a link to the film's web site,


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Incoming Dutchman drafted by NHL’s Capitals

Posted on Jun 29, 2004

hockey image

Incoming Union College hockey player Justin Mrazek was selected in the
eighth round (230th) of the NHL draft on Sunday, June 27, by the
Washington Capitals. A goaltender who most recently played for the
Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Mrazek is the first
Union player to be selected in the draft since goaltender Brandon Snee was
picked in the fifth round by the New York Rangers in the 2000 draft. 

At 6-3 and
185 pounds, Mrazek posted a 14-16-5 record with Estevan last season with a 3.14
goals against average and a .903 save percentage. Mrazek will battle with
returning Dutchmen goaltender Kris Mayotte for playing time when Union begins
their 2004-2005 season in October.

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Rawson Thurber ’97 is creator of Dodgeball

Posted on Jun 29, 2004

by Morgan Gmelch '05

Dodgeball, the ball-throwing game that may be as close to combat as a youngster can get, has for decades been the stuff of legend around water coolers. Now, it's the basis – and title – of a successful summer movie, the brainchild of first-time feature writer-director Rawson M. Thurber '97. An all-star cast and clever script made Dodgeball the highest grossing movie ($30 million) its first weekend, June 18. Dodgeball is Thurber's second comedic success; his first, a commercial series for Reebok, “Terry Tate, Office Linebacker,” received the Cannes Film Festival Gold Lion, and was voted the most popular Super Bowl ad in 2003 in a Wall Street Journal poll. Recently, Morgan Gmelch '05 had a chance to catch up with the filmmaker.


Rawson Thurber '97

Morgan Gmelch '07: Can you describe what you've done since graduation?

Rawson Thurber '97: I graduated in 1997 and went right into the Peter Stark Producing program at USC. I graduated from that in '99 with a master's of fine arts in producing. Right after I graduated I started working as an assistant for a screen writer named John August, he has distributed Go, Charlie's Angels, Big Fish, and Minority Report. I was essentially his apprentice and assistant for two and a half years wherein I wrote and directed Terry Tate and the script for Dodgeball. I wrote that script in April of 2001 and got an agent because of it and ended up selling it to Dreamworks in the fall. I wrote the villain role for Ben Stiller and the hero role for Vince Vaughn. I am a big fan of both of them and it was amazing to get them both in the movie.  I hope you like it, it's a movie that's really stupid and I think pretty funny and occasionally clever.  Its funny but it also has a good heart, very tongue in cheek. I have been very lucky since graduation in a lot of ways. Certainly my education at Union was instrumental in teaching me how to think and analyze.


MG: Did you know you wanted to go into film when you were at Union?

Director Rawson Thurber '97, left, with actor Ben Stiller during filming of Dodgeball.

RT: I majored in English and theater arts because there wasn't a film program available. But I did end up making a short film, in fact my first short film, for my senior thesis. It was called Palaber and I directed and co-wrote it. I knew that I wanted to be involved in making better movies than the ones I was seeing but I didn't know exactly how I would go about doing that. There weren't any courses at Union for this. I kind of made it up as I went along.


MG: Were there any film clubs at Union at the time?

RT: There weren't, so when I was a senior my friend, Mike Ferguson, and I created a club in order to get the funding we needed to make my short film. We formed a club called the Visual Landscape Art, VLA.


MG: Were there any professors at Union who gave you guidance?

RT: Peter Heinegg [English] was my advisor and my favorite professor. He gave me great advice all the way through my years at Union. In the Classics Department, Professor [Scott] Scullion had a tremendous influence on me. Professor Bill Finlay of the theater department was also very helpful in teaching me the processes of how to direct. He taught the first directing class I ever took. It was electrifying for me and I would say that was really the turning point. I draw on all of their teachings to this day, when I'm reading scripts, writing scripts, when I'm working with actors and thinking about stories. My classics minor also has a great influence on me.


MG: Did the liberal arts education of Union prepare you for a career in film?

RT: Undoubtedly. I had a wonderful experience at Union College. Not only the liberal arts background but the quality of the professors and size of the school were great. I got to really know my professors intimately. It also allowed me to be very active on campus – I won political office a couple times, I was on the radio station WRUC, I wrote a column for the Concordiensis, I played football my freshman year, and I was a member of a fraternity [DU]. 


MG: What was the inspiration for Dodgeball

RT: I've always been a comedy geek and a sports nerd, and I wanted to put those two worlds together. Some of my favorite movies growing up in the mid-80s were Caddyshack, Revenge of the Nerds, and Stripes and then I liked a lot of the sports films like Bad News Bears and Bull Durham. I wanted to pay homage to those types of movies that I really love and I put both of those together in Dodgeball. Not only is Dodgeball an homage to those movies, it is also a satire of them. Sports are taken so seriously in this society, but when I think of dodgeball we played in school I laugh. Everyone has a visceral memory of dodgeball, you're either getting hit or hitting someone. When you say dodgeball to someone they either break into a smile or a sweat. There is a nostalgic connection to it. 


MG: Are sports an easy way to achieve comedy?

RT: I have used sports with my comedy because I know that world pretty well. I've played sports my whole life and always been a fan. I know the intricacies of that world and the hypocrisies and ridiculousness associated with it, little things in sports that I always find annoying or frustrating. The two sports casters in Dodgeball are my attempt at satirizing play-by-play and color commentators because so many of them are horrible and say the most asinine things. But I really love the good ones, like Al Micheals, Jon Miller, and Joe Morgan. It was my attempt to mock the flowery prose of the play-by-play announcer and the dim-witted eagerness of the color commentator. I think that the American culture puts a lot of emphasis and importance on sport.

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The UCAA becomes the Liberty League

Posted on Jun 28, 2004

June 28, 2004 – The Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association, formed in 1995,
will officially change its name to the Liberty League, effective immediately,
according to Margaret F. Strait, athletic director at St. Lawrence University
and league president.


The new league includes founding institutions Clarkson University, Hamilton
College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the University of Rochester,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, St. Lawrence University, Skidmore College and
Union College. Vassar College became a full member of the league in 2000-2001
and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and
Worcester Polytechnic Institute join the league this fall as associate members
for football only.

“Our conference has evolved dramatically over the past ten years, and
we felt the timing was appropriate for this change,” Strait said.
“The new name and logo project a positive image for a group of
institutions that has worked together to provide a very meaningful educational
experience for thousands of student-athletes. We came together as selective
private institutions with shared values to bring out the best aspects of
intercollegiate athletics. The name change and new marks will help us tell our
success story and will better reflect who we are as a league. We have stood for
tradition and excellence and we are proud of what we have established.”

The Liberty League sponsors championships in 24 sports. The member
institutions of the league place the highest priority on the overall quality of
the educational experience and on the successful completion of a student's
academic program. The member institutions seek to establish and maintain an
environment in which a student-athlete's athletic activities are conducted as
an integral part of the educational experience.

During the 2003-04 academic year, the member institutions of the Liberty
League sent 17 teams in 14 sports to their respective NCAA tournaments, as well
as dozens of individual student-athletes to NCAA Championship events in cross country,
swimming and diving, track and field and tennis.

Among the best in the nation in the classroom as well as successful in
athletics, Liberty League student-athletes garnered five CoSIDA Academic
All-America awards and 37 CoSIDA Academic All District Awards.

The new conference mark was designed by the New York-based design agency
SME. Since 1989, SME has been providing innovative branding and design
solutions in professional and collegiate sports around the globe. The Liberty
League has also partnered with Strategic Marketing Affiliates, Inc. (www.smaworks.com) from Indianapolis, Indiana
to perform the role of licensing agent for the League and to oversee the
administration of the new identity and the release of marks to approved

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